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Tradition, uses and Biodiversity of rocket (Eruca Sativa, Brassicaceae) in Israel

Tradition, usages et Biodiversité de Roquette (Eruca Sativa, Brassicaceae) en Israel


Eruca sativa (rocket) is a native plant of Israel, documented in the old literature. A survey was conducted of the old literature of ancient Israel, including Jewish, Classical and Islamic sources up to the Middle ages. It was found that rocket was used as a garden crop and spice. It was also known as a medicinal plant and was used as an aphrodisiac, for eye infections, and for digestive and kidney problems. It is important to note that special attention was given in the old times to biodiversity within the rocket species. In the light of its high erucic acid content, native accessions were collected and evaluated as a potential future source of industrial oil. Ten accessions ofEruca sativa were cultivated in Bet-Dagan experimental farm during the 1995/96 growing season. Physiological as well as chemical parameters were recorded. Erucic acid (C 22:1) and eicosenoic acid (C 20:1) contents varied from 33 to 45% and from 7.3% to 9.8%, respectively. Special attention was given to the expressed biodiversity among the accessions and its relation to their origins.


Eruca sativa (Roquette) est une plante endemique (native) en Israel, documentée dans la littérature ancienne. Une recherche de la littérature ancienne d'Israel comprenant des source juives, classiques et islamiques a été effectuée. Il s'est avéré que la roquette était utilisée comme plante de jardin et de condiment. Elle a été connue comme plante médicinale et utilisée comme aphrodisiaque, contre les infections des yeux et pour des problémes digestifs et rénaux. Il est important de noter l'attention spéciale accordée dans les temps anciens á la biodiversité parmi les espéces de roquette. Tenant compte de sa haute contenance en acide erucique, des accessions natives ont été collectées et évaluées comme future source potentielles d'huile industrielle. Dix accessions d'Eruca sativa ont été plantées a la ferme expérimental à Bet Dagan durant la saison de culture 1995/96. Des paramètres physiologiques et chimiques ont été enregistré. Les teneurs en acide erucique (C22:l) et en acide eicosenoique (C20:l) ont varié de 33 à 45% et de 7.3 à 9.8% respectivement. Une attention speciale a été acordée a la biodiversité exprimée dans les accessions et sa relation a ses origines.

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Yaniv, Z., Schafferman, D. & Amar, Z. Tradition, uses and Biodiversity of rocket (Eruca Sativa, Brassicaceae) in Israel. Econ Bot 52, 394–400 (1998).

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Key Words

  • Biodiversity
  • ethnobotany
  • rocket
  • seed-oils